If there’s a single issue that crosses political lines in the United States, it’s antitrust. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have argued that corporate consolidation has driven down wages for workers and driven up prices for consumers. This past July, the White House issued an executive order that, among other things, directed antitrust agencies to step up enforcement with a focus on agriculture, labor, health-care, and technology markets. But how aligned are economists on this issue? Chicago Booth’s Initiative on Global Markets asked members of its US Economic Experts Panel to express their views.
David Autor, MIT
“But the answer differs by sector. Examples. Yes: airlines, wireless/broadband, hospitals. No: retail, restaurants.”
Austan D. Goolsbee, Chicago Booth
“Corporate consolidation, record-breaking profits, and the lowest labor share of national income on record are probably just a coincidence. . . .”
Response: Strongly agree
Hilary Hoynes, University of California at Berkeley
“Agree that it constrains wage growth, especially for lower-skill workers. Uncertain about innovation.”
Daron Acemoglu, MIT
“I think here we are on firmer ground and there is more evidence supporting this claim.”
Kenneth Judd, Stanford
“There is competition; for example, satellite competes with cable. Switching costs keep me from considering changes in service.”
Steve Kaplan, Chicago Booth
“Wasn’t US broadband more reliable in the pandemic than it was in Europe?”
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